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Winning a Fair, Just, and Equitable Energy Transition
The clean energy transition isn’t theoretical – it’s happening across Colorado and driving job creation and our economic boom every day. Over the course of the coming decades, the world will dramatically shift its energy use to cleaner sources and adopt measures to achieve carbon neutrality. We need leaders in Washington who are committed to a fair, just and equitable energy transition that will also stabilize our middle class and grow our economy. Colorado families and our collective future depend on how we manage this transition.
As a former Obama official at the Department of Energy, climate advisor to Governor Bill Ritter, and Colorado House Majority Leader, I have dedicated the last 15 years to building our clean energy economy in a thoughtful, practical manner. According to the Blue Green Alliance – a partnership between green energy advocates and labor organizations –there are already 1.9 million Americans employed in the energy efficiency sector and 600,000 workers directly employed in the production of low-carbon electricity. And that is just the beginning.
The Douglas County, Colorado, Republican Party shared a Facebook post this week stating that Muslim members of Congress who express specific ideas are terrorists.
The post, which has been spreading on Facebook, states:
“Every time a Moslem (sic) stands up in Congress and tells us they will change the Constitution, impeach our President, or vote for Socialism, remember you said you would never forget. They said they would destroy us from within.”
“Would Senator Marble like posts supporting the KKK or neo-Nazis?” asked CAIR’s Acting Board Chair Krista Cole in a news release. “Islamophobia, just like anti-Semitism or bigotry of any kind, should not be tolerated and we call on the Senator to immediately apologize.”
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) held his 100th “Government in the Grocery” event last weekend.
We all get tired of negative news, even if we recognize that the negative aspect of a story might be what makes that story relevant in the first place. Media outlets report on airplane crashes but never list out every flight that landed safely in a given day. “Dog Bites Man” is not a newsworthy headline because it’s not unique, but “Man Bites Dog” will get your attention every time.
Or, to put it another way, Sen. Gardner is the “Bizarro” version of Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County).
Perlmutter was first elected in CO-7 in 2006 and hasn’t lost a re-election contest ever since. In fact, Perlmutter has won every one of his re-election bids by at least a double-digit margin. There are many reasons for Perlmutter’s success, but at the top of the list is a very simple explanation: Constituent services. Perlmutter makes it easy for his constituents to find him and goes out of his way to provide assistance — which is exactly what you should expect from your elected official.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter holds a “Government in the Grocery” event in 2007.
Over the weekend, Perlmutter reached a milestone by holding his 100th “Government in the Grocery” event, in which he sets up a table at a grocery store in the district so that constituents can talk to their Congressman directly. From a press release:
Perlmutter started the Government in the Grocery program when he first took office in 2007 in order to better hear from constituents and meet them in their local community. The first Government in the Grocery was held on January 27, 2007 in Wheat Ridge. Perlmutter holds these events on a regular basis at different grocery stores in cities across the 7th Congressional District and meets with constituents one-on-one about whatever is on their mind.
“I believe being accessible and engaging often with constituents is essential to the fabric of our democracy,” said Perlmutter. “The Government in the Grocery program is an easy and convenient way for constituents to share their concerns, ideas and questions and, in turn, makes me a better representative.”
Congratulations, and kudos, to Congressman Perlmutter.
The Denver Post’sAnna Staver wrote an excellent post-mortem of the Colorado Republican Party’s failed summer of recalls this past weekend, and here’s how it starts:
When Congressman Ken Buck took the reins of the Colorado Republican Party in March, he stood on the stage in Englewood High School’s auditorium and told the party faithful they were going to teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.”
The room erupted in applause…
[I]n the nearly six months since that fiery speech in the high school auditorium, conservatives have tried to recall five Democratic lawmakers and the governor. Four of those campaigns failed to gather enough signatures to put a recall election on the ballot, one recall target resigned for unrelated reasons, and the attempt to remove Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, is ongoing. His opponents have until Oct. 18 to turn in their petitions.
“I think the recall process has done what it was supposed to do,” said former GOP chair Dick Wadhams. “It provided an outlet for Republicans. … Were they politically smart? I think it’s a resounding no.”
As the Republican recall threats that dominated the end of the 2019 session of the Colorado General Assembly have collapsed under their own weight in the last two weeks, Rep. Ken Buck’s speech in late March before the GOP state convention committing the party to support for recalls against Democratic lawmakers with dramatic flair has emerged as a symbol of the party’s incompetent reaction to massive defeat in the 2018 elections. Moderate GOP columnist Mario Nicolais writes in the Colorado Sun:
Rep. Ken Buck took the reins of the Colorado Republican Party promising to “teach [Democrats] how to spell r-e-c-a-l-l.” Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown initiated the recall against state Sen. Tom Sullivan. Former state House candidate Nancy Pallozzi targeted her historical nemesis state Sen. Brittany Pettersen.
Heading into a critical 2020 election year, the Colorado Republicans spent the past six months demonstrating an ineffectual ground game and undermining their own credibility. That doesn’t bode well for President Trump’s reelection efforts or Sen. Cory Gardner’s slim hope of hanging onto the seat he narrowly won in 2014.
When the effort to recall state Rep. Tom Sullivan failed just as spectacularly as the recall-Polis movement, I asked whether the Colorado GOP knew enough to be embarrassed. I think we have now answered that question. The attempt to recall Polis may not have been an official GOP project, but it’s close enough. Marianne Goodland of Colorado Politics reports that groups aligned with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville donated $10,000 to the effort.
And remember Ken Buck’s speech when he was elected GOP state chair last March, promising Democrats would need to learn how to spell r-e-c-a-l-l in the coming months? We remember Sen. Cory Gardner standing on the stage in support of Buck.
The correct spelling is in the headline. Your dictionary (for those of a certain age) or spell-check (for those who don’t remember or never used that heavy old bound Webster’s) will confirm it. The alternative spelling, at least for disgruntled conservatives and Colorado Republicans, is F-A-I-L.
My GOP friends need to forward that alternative spelling to their state party chair. It was Ken Buck, whose day job is representing Colorado’s 4th congressional district, who pledged at the party’s last state convention that “we’re going to teach them (Democrats) how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.” To applause, it’s worth noting, from the only two remaining Republicans officeholders elected statewide, Sen. Cory Gardner and University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl.
Republican sources tell us that there is a fierce intraparty debate underway today on both sides of “recall season” as to how seriously Rep. Buck’s absentee leadership of the Colorado GOP contributed to the failures. On the one hand, Buck certainly could have (and in retrospect should have) intervened in the filing of the doomed recall petition against Rep. Tom Sullivan, the failure of which effectively stymied any momentum Republicans had coming out of the legislative session. On the other hand, Buck is widely rumored to have discouraged the Polis recall behind the scenes, helping further alienate the party’s radical wing after paying them lip service.
Perhaps most telling in all of this is that Staver reports Rep. Buck couldn’t be reached for comment on how the spelling lesson ended up! At this point, that’s probably Buck’s best option. Comparing the rhetoric to the outcome of the now-faceplanted “summer of recalls” is an embarrassment to more than Ken Buck, but there’s only one chairman.
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is a tough act to follow as a Senate candidate.
Last week Democrats John Walsh and Dan Baer separately announced that they were ending their campaigns for U.S. Senate and endorsing former Gov. John Hickenlooper for the Democratic nomination in 2020. This all seemed inevitable once Hickenlooper walked through a very open door to join the field last month; all available information since that moment supports the idea of Hick as an overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic nomination to take on Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).
But as Anna Staver reports for the Denver Post, hope (or something) rings eternal in politics:
Denise Burgess, who serves on the board of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, is announcing her entry into the race Monday morning, taking the number of candidates back up to 10.
“Me running for U.S. Senate wasn’t about anyone else,” Burgess said when asked about the timing of her decision. “You don’t become a successful woman in construction by letting someone else determining your fate.”
Burgess is a second-generation Coloradan who worked with her father to grow the family’s heating and air conditioning business into a nationwide construction management firm, Burgess Services Inc. Her company has worked on the City and County of Denver Justice Center and the Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport.
That Burgess is running for Senate isn’t a total shock in one regard; we heard a rumor last Spring that Burgess was considering a Senate bid, but that whisper vanished as quickly as it emerged and we just wrote it down to typical off-year political speculation. If it is true that Burgess has been considering this decision for some time and waited until now to make it official — well, lets just say she’s getting some terrible advice.
Burgess has an impressive resume in the Denver business community, but she’s virtually unknown among potential voters and Democratic activists. It would have been a stretch for Burgess to start a statewide campaign four months ago when the field was very much unsettled; now she’ll also have to find a way around Hickenlooper, arguably the single most identifiable political name in Colorado at the moment.
Burgess tells the Post that she is planning to make the June Primary ballot via the petition process, which is about the only part of her Senate announcement that makes any sort of strategic sense whatsoever.
The social media groups for the now-defeated recall attempt against Gov. Jared Polis have been fairly quiet in the week since the effort met its ignominious end–which makes sense since when one suffers a humiliating defeat that should rightly make one question the last six months of their lives’ work at least, if not much larger and more basic questions about their worldview, it’s probably a good idea to look at the floor and think about things for awhile quietly.
But of course the world is never rid of bogeymen, especially when you see them everywhere–and in the “Dismiss Polis”Facebook group, they’ve already moved on to the next crisis:
Back in June, Gov. Polis announced an executive order aiming to improve the state of Colorado’s last-in-the-nation ranking for kindergarten immunizations, with a number of limited steps directing the state Department of Public Health and Environment to look at the problem and standardize the process for requesting exemptions under the law. This order came after Polis controversially opposed a substantially stronger bill from Rep. Kyle Mullica (D) to require vaccine exemption requests to be filed in person. We haven’t seen it confirmed, but it’s reasonable to speculate that this position posting is either related to that executive order or is simply an existing position at CDPHE being turned over.
Either way, Gov. Polis is in no way part of any kind of “crackdown” on child immunizations–to the extent that he took a lot of criticism in the last session for opposing Rep. Mullica’s legislation. How do you get from that reality to sounding the alarm on the Polis recall internets over “immunization compliance inspectors?”
A sidenote worth noting following last week’s news of the firing/resignation of National Security Adviser John “Bomb Errybody” Bolton, as reported by Vanity Fair et al:
When he left the White House earlier this week, John Bolton did not thank the president for the high privilege of serving the country, as other ejectees had before him. Instead, after Donald Trump tweeted that he had fired the national security adviser on Monday night, Bolton contradicted the president, saying that he’d offered to quit first. And after Trump went on a prolonged rant about how he, the president, was stronger than “Mr. Tough Guy,” Bolton announced that he was getting back into the political arena, rebooting his PAC and Super PAC and throwing money at candidates who disagreed with a certain someone’s national security policies.
“The John Bolton PAC and John Bolton Super PAC seek a strong, clear, and dependable U.S. national security policy, resting on constancy and resolve,” Bolton said in a press release issued Friday. “The experience that these incumbent members of Congress have provides them with a remarkable understanding and knowledge of the threats we face from international terrorism and rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea.”
…While Trump and Bolton’s dramatic, ego-driven breakup seems inevitable in hindsight, it’s unclear whether Bolton has the leverage to truly strike back against Trump, other than through chest-thumping. The five recipients of Bolton’s donations—Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, [Pols emphasis] Thom Tillis, Adam Kinzinger, and Lee Zeldin, all former recipients of Bolton PAC money—share his hawkish stance on foreign policy, but should Trump’s differences with Bolton become a matter of doctrine for his rabid base, taking the former national security adviser’s money could become a black mark on right wing résumés. [Pols emphasis]
So first of all, we have to call out the major mistake of Sen. Cory Gardner’s views on North Korea characterized as in meaningful disagreement with President Donald Trump, since Gardner’s statements on North Korea have blown with the wind during the last couple of years of on-again off-again detente with the “Hermit Kingdom” under the current president. Far from challenging Trump over his erratic and concession-free engagement with North Korea, Gardner has been forced to both repeatedly praise Trump while simultaneously maintaining the fiction that the Trump administration’s policy toward North Korea reflects the “maximum pressure” Gardner insists is needed.
With most of the world breathing a sigh of relief now that Bolton’s belligerent brand of foreign policy no longer has Trump’s ear, it’s tough to imagine who this endorsement would motivate to support Gardner. Trump’s base is hearing a negative message about Bolton, and that’s still Gardner’s base, too. And as far as voters who don’t like Trump are concerned, how many of them want to be on John Bolton’s side of anything?
Either way, Gardner’s infamously petty and vengeful President is a hot potato he has struggled mightily to juggle ever since calling for Trump to pull out of the presidential race in October of 2016. Trying to stay alive politically in a state turning bluer every election while holding his conservative Trump-loving base together, the last thing Gardner needs is for all those glowing Trump Tweets he regularly receives to turn into…the other kind of Trump Tweets.
Politics is often compared to chess, and for good reason. A successful political campaign requires sound strategy and foresight to cut off your opponent at the most opportune moments.
This analogy is particularly apt in light of a notable endorsement today in the Democratic Primary race for CO-1. Incumbent Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) picked up the endorsement of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), one of the largest labor unions in Colorado. From a press release:
Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7 Union announced their endorsement of Congresswoman Diana DeGette as she seeks re-election in 2020. UFCW Local 7 President, Kim Cordova, announced the endorsement at their union hall alongside Congresswoman DeGette and Local 7 members.
“United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 is proud to announce our Endorsement of Diana DeGette, a proven workers champion for another term. Diana shares our core values through her advocacy for affordable and quality healthcare, gender equity, raising the minimum wage and workers’ rights. Colorado needs her continued strong leadership in Congress to fight for workers and to ensure Labor has a voice.” – UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova…
…UFCW Local 7 is Colorado’s largest labor union representing Supermarkets, Packing Houses, Food Processing Plants, Barbers and Cosmetologists and Healthcare facilities. Large employers in Congressional District One include Mission Tortillas, King Soopers, and Safeway.
The significance of this endorsement will be obvious to longtime political observers.It was nearly 10 years ago to the day that Ernie Duran, Jr. — UFCW’s longest-standing President — was voted out of office after charges of nepotism. As the Denver Post reported on September 22, 2009:
During the contentious battle over the “right to work” ballot measure last year, reports surfaced about nepotism within the union under Duran’s leadership.
In 2007, Crisanta Duran was paid $133,410 and Ernie Duran’s son, Ernie Duran III, was paid $134,378 as an executive staff member, according to Labor Department filings. The elder Duran earned $162,368 that year.
“The nepotism was a big issue with the workers — Ernie hiring his family and putting them into high-paid positions,” Cordova said.
Allegations surfaced this year about misspent union funds.
Duran’s daughter is Crisanta Duran, who picked up the job as UFCW’s staff attorney not long after she graduated from law school. Duran would later earn a seat in the State House of Representatives, where she served as the first Latina Speaker of the House in Colorado (2017-19). Earlier this year Duran announced that she was mounting a Primary challenge against DeGette, the longest-serving member of Colorado’s Congressional delegation.
Given the controversy that surrounded the elder Duran’s departure from UFCW, it was probably unlikely that Crisanta Duran was ever going to earn the support of the grocery workers’ union — but it’s not insignificant that the UFCW decided to publicly back DeGette. In every political campaign, some endorsements mean more than others. For Denver politicos — the sort of voters that DeGette and Duran will be fighting over next spring — this is one of those endorsements.
One leader of the effort to recall Colorado state Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) is speculating that her Facebook page was hacked, while another leader isn’t commenting, in response to questions about racist or anti-Semitic posts on both of their Facebook pages.
“Today reaffirms my disdain for illegals…Barbarians…3rd world pigs,” wrote Ernest Mascarenas, who’s listed in state records as one of three leaders of the recall effort, on Facebook Feb. 12, where he goes by the name Ernest Carlos. “Pissed in a bottle and threw it down the elevator shaft, landing on a elevator worker. If you like them so much and want them here that bad, take them into your home…BUILD THAT WALL.”
In another comment posted July 10 above a DailyCaller article with the headline, “BET Founder Gives Thumbs Up To Trump, Thumbs Down To Democrats,” Mascarenas wrote, “You’ll always have the dumb minorities that’ll support the Democrats… All the way to the oven.”
Multiple attempts to reach Mascarenas to discuss the Facebook posts, which were obtained from a source, were not successful.
Carr’s 2013 apparent comment came in response to Feinstein’s calls for new gun laws after the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in 2012.
Carr’s Facebook page states that by pushing gun safety legislation, Feinstein, whom Carr refers to as “some 80-year-old Jewish Senator (b 6-22-33 SF Ca)” who is “old enough to know about the events in Germany in the thirties and forties when Adolf murdered millions of Jews,” is “trying her best to do Hitler’s work in the U.S.”
► The Trump administration is rolling back clean water standards to 1986 levels, and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is thrilled about the move. From the Associated Press via Fox 31 Denver:
The Trump administration on Thursday revoked an Obama-era regulation that shielded many U.S. wetlands and streams from pollution but was opposed by developers and farmers who said it hurt economic development and infringed on property rights, a move that Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner cheered as “a victory for Colorado’s farmers.”…
…Environmentalists say the move would leave millions of Americans with less safe drinking water and allow damage of wetlands that prevent flooding, filter pollutants and provide habitat for a multitude of fish, waterfowl and other wildlife…
…Betsy Southerland, who was director of science and technology in EPA’s Office of Water during the Obama administration, said repealing its regulation would create further regulatory confusion.
“This repeal is a victory for land developers, oil and gas drillers and miners who will exploit that ambiguity to dredge and fill small streams and wetlands that were protected from destruction by the 2015 rule because of their critical impact on national water quality,” Southerland said.
► Taking money from military projects to fund a wall along the Mexico border is a serious security risk, according to a report from the U.S. Air Force. As NBC News reports:
The report, obtained by NBC News, details the importance of each of the 51 military projects chosen by the Trump administration to lose their funding, including construction of a new gate to address a growing security concern at an overseas U.S. base, projects to build facilities to safely store more than $1 billion in munitions overseas, and even replacing a boiler whose failure is “imminent” and could cause the evacuation of an entire base in Alaska…
…There is no guarantee the funds will automatically be backfilled, according to a congressional official and a U.S. defense official. The congressional official said the projects may be set back a year or more.
The Aspen Times’Rick Carrollhas an important follow-up story to a controversy we’ve been following since July–a Republican Party fundraiser in Aspen starring Vice President Mike Pence that resulted in almost $20,000 in security costs incurred by the Pitkin County Sheriff and other local government agencies, which Sheriff Joe DiSalvo had to publicly insist on being covered before receiving two large checks from Republican donors who asked to remain anonymous.
As it turns out and we predicted at the time, their desire for anonymity was untenable under Colorado law, since the checks and the identities of the check writers are a public record easily obtainable by a Colorado Open Records Act request. Earlier this week, 9NEWS identified the donors in question as an Arizona investment banker as well as E. G. “Ken” Kendrick, managing owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and a longtime “Never Trump” Republican whose surreptitious support at a Pence fundraiser raises all kinds of juicy political questions.
Setting aside Kendrick’s “Never Trump” politics and the curious turnabout in his views of the President, there would seem to be little question that the checks to Pitkin County to cover security expenses for the fundraiser are in-kind donations that cannot be made anonymously and must be reported to the Federal Election Commission. Except kind of ridiculously, Republicans are trying to dispute this now that the proverbial jig is up:
“I do not believe it is a political donation,” said Anna Zane, chair of the Pitkin GOP. “I believe it was two good Samaritans that stepped up to pay the security costs that Pitkin County and neighboring jurisdictions incurred when the sitting vice president visited our town.”
Yet Denver attorney Mark Grueskin, whose area of expertise includes campaign finance law, said the contributions should be reported and the donors’ identities should not be protected.
“This was clearly a payment to benefit a federal campaign and a national political party,” he said, adding “it must be reported by the candidate or the party or both to the FEC.” [Pols emphasis]
In all fairness, here’s a Republican lawyer who says differently:
According to Christopher O. Murray, who was deputy general counsel for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, Love and Kendrick’s payments were not political contributions because they did not cover expenses the Pence campaign or the RNC were legally obligated to pay, or had previously committed to pay.
This strikes us as in incredibly strained interpretation of the law. Whether or not the campaign was “obligated” to pay these security costs for the Pence fundraiser is irrelevant. The invoice presented by Pitkin County was paid, and paid to avoid what was turning into a considerable scandal for the organizers of the Pence fundraiser after Sheriff DiSalvo’s frustration made the press. That means by any reasonable definition this was an in-kind donation to the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. It may require litigation to resolve specific circumstantial questions here, but it’s difficult to imagine the outcome being in doubt.
It’s an embarrassment for a major national Republican donor to get caught making donations on the sly via an open records request, but the real sticky wicket in this situation is “Never Trump” Kendrick’s clandestine support for Donald Trump’s re-election. There are hard questions about such a change of heart that only Ken Kendrick can answer, which could explain why he wanted to support Trump’s re-election campaign anonymously.